Student Researchers Past and Present Share their Work on Sustainable Development

by |June 16, 2010

On Friday, April 23, 2010, the Earth Institute hosted its annual Student Research Showcase. More than 25 students shared their cutting-edge research on environmental and sustainable development through short presentations, followed by a poster session that gave participants the chance for more detailed discussions with the presenters.

Children in the Millennium Villages participate in comprehensive in-school health programs (Photo credit: Naomi Handa-Williams)

Children in the Millennium Villages participate in comprehensive in-school health programs (Photo credit: Naomi Handa-Williams)

The student researchers represented a wide range of Columbia University undergraduate and graduate programs, including public health, engineering, mathematics, human rights, medicine, and sociology. Student research and travel grants are supported by generous Earth Institute donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ceil & Michael E. Pulitzer Foundation.

Max Ritzenberg, a graduate student in medicine at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons, described his work in Tanzania developing an integrative and comprehensive in-school health program assessment for children in the Millennium Villages. Based on his work, the school is now developing a full curriculum that will enable school children to educate their entire community on healthy practices like hand washing and proper nutrition.

Mother and child in a Millennium Village with bed net to reduce malaria transmission

Mother and child in a Millennium Village with bed net to reduce malaria transmission

As a master’s student at Columbia’s School of International & Public Affairs, Tracy Slagle spent the summer of 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia analyzing survey results on insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria transmission. Her work considered the sustainability and scalability of bed net distribution, suggesting that future efforts should address education and marketing to strengthen the effort to prevent malaria in Ethiopia and beyond.

With the continued support of donors like the Gates Foundation and the Pulitzer Foundation, a new set of students has just begun 2010 summer internships across Sub-Saharan Africa. More than twenty students will conduct research in a variety of areas, including health, agriculture, the environment, community development, information technology, and monitoring and evaluation.

For more information on student research opportunities offered by the Earth Institute, visit http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2448.

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